An irresistible, vivid, and wise story of one woman's reckoning with loss and love
Blanca is forty years old and motherless. Shaken by the unexpected death of the most important person in her life, she suddenly realizes that she has no idea what her future will look like.
To ease her dizzying grief and confusion, Blanca turns to her dearest friends, her closest family, and a change of scenery. Leaving Barcelona behind, she returns to Cadaqués, on the coast, accompanied by her two sons, two ex-husbands, and two best friends, and makes a plan to meet her married lover for a few stolen moments as well. Surrounded by those she loves most, she spends the summer in an impossibly beautiful place, finding ways to reconnect and understand what it means to truly, happily live on her own terms, just as her mother would have wanted.
A refreshingly frank and ruefully funny portrait of a grieving daughter, THIS TOO SHALL PASS explores how our deepest relationships are changed by tragedy, with bonds often becoming stronger in ways we never expected.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Barcelona-born writer Milena Busquets’ This Too Shall Pass is a short but powerful novel about a woman adrift after her mother’s death. It may seem like a stupid idea to escape your grief by heading to the beach house of your youth with your ex-husbands, married lover, two flamboyant best friends, and sensitive sons in tow, but that’s just how Blanca—the story’s impetuous protagonist and narrator—chooses to weather the emotional storm. The resulting experiences and interactions come to us through a sun-bleached, wine-dazed lens: beautiful word-Polaroids that raise questions about the “appropriate” way to live, love, and leave.
This short, poignant work balances humor, intimacy, and loss in a way that captures the nuances of each, and manages to be light while staying true to its heroine's grief. Blanca is still reeling after the death of her mother. Approaching middle age, she's also struggling to take measure of her life. She leans on her friends, her married lover, and the fathers of her two children during a summer trip to Cadaques in northeast Spain; Cadaques is where she spent her childhood and she still thinks of it as her and her mother's home. But as the heat and close proximity to her past make insecurities stand out, Blanca is faced with the question of what she truly wants in life. Blanca's crisis feels authentic, due in large part to Busquets' stream-of-consciousness style, which breaks through some of the armor her main character clearly wears with other people. At times the plot can feel meandering, but the steady pacing gives Blanca space to work through her many emotions without unnecessary drama. Rather than infuse the story with heated exchanges, Busquets relies on her main character's rich interior life and longtime relationships to add depth and significance. The easy, sensual way Blanca relates to those around her is thoroughly enjoyable without feeling at odds with the grief she experiences in frequent bursts as she moves through the town her mother loved. Guilt, lust, love, and anger rise to the surface throughout the novel, creating a movingly human portrait of mid-adulthood.